Donald Trump’s team during April began announcing practical programmes for dealing with the trade issues they’d previously been merely vocal about:
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On April 18, Britain’s Prime Minster, Theresa May, called a general election for June 8.
Donald Trump admitted on April 12 that he had no plans to honour public commitments he had repeatedly made to deal with the “currency manipulation” he insisted China was practising.
The Chair of a UK Parliament Treasury Committee said on March 31 that “confidence had collapsed” in Britain’s having essential Customs IT infrastructure ready to handle the expected fivefold increase in Customs declarations in time for its planned Spring 2019 EU exit date.
The apparel making job creation target in India’s Maharashtra state (the area round Mumbai) seems to be 98% below its 2012 target, according to its 2016-17 Economic Survey.
An internal March 2016 document within the UK Customs Administration (known locally as HMRC), leaked by Britain’s Sunday Times on March 26, admits that “Any form of customs controls will increase the costs to businesses and consumers of imported and exported products. These costs can be both financial and measured in time/delays.”
The European Union was reported on March 23 to have warned Bangladesh of suspending duty-free access unless Bangladesh makes progress in the implementing worker rights.
France’s Constitutional Council declared on March 23 that penalties of up to €30 million agreed by its Parliament for major corporations’ human rights violations were unconstitutional.
The UK is facing a €1.98 bn bill from the EU for “repeatedly ignoring warnings” of tax frauds on imported Chinese shoes and apparel. The case highlights grave systemic complications in Britain’s handling of trade which threaten to complicate further its preparations for leaving the EU.
Results of the March 15 election for the Dutch House of Representatives seem to kill worries the EU is about to collapse. But, though those worries have never had any real justification, the Dutch election still emphasises the declining support in mature democracies for some traditional policies.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in a March 3 interview, offered insights into general trade priorities and his priorities for the NAFTA renegotiation.
The UK government was reported on March 1 to have instructed its departments to have plans ready for governing if Britain fails to secure an adequate free trade deal with the EU after leaving in spring 2017.
Late February Senate confirmations and ad-hoc appointments now give the US a reasonably clear, though possibly temporary, senior trade team.
Although in January Donald Trump summarised his objectives as “Buy American, hire American”, major policy priority summaries now almost ignore trade programmes.